How Mobile Operators Are Impacting Enterprise Mobility

Published on: December 3, 2012

Kathryn “Kitty” Weldon, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Mobility of Current Analysis talks with Parna Sarkar-Basu, vice president of marketing communications for Verivo Software.

Sarkar-Basu: What are the mobile operators doing to support enterprise mobility?

Weldon: Well, the mobile operators realize that they have a role to play beyond just providing data services, voice services and devices. And in fact, they are really starting to put together pretty broad portfolios of solutions that deal with things like telecommunications expense management. In other words, how much am I spending on my devices now; are there optimal service plans that I can get that I am not getting now? And they do this across multiple carriers. So if a large organization uses five or six carriers, they can usually just go to one operator who will let them see their entire spend and do an analysis of it.

The operators are also selecting third-party vendors for mobile device management, and that means that they can deal with provisioning, configuration and troubleshooting of mobile devices. And they can do this across multiple operating systems, which is really important right now because, at the moment, there are Apple devices/iOS devices, there are Android devices, and there are still a lot of BlackBerry devices in the enterprise, and we are kind of expecting that Windows Phone is going to come into its own in the next couple of years. So, it’s very difficult for IT to do all of these kinds of things entirely on their own. And then, the next level is mobile applications. So not only is there usually an enterprise app store as part of the mobile device management platform, but some operators are going farther and they are saying, “Well, we want to be able help our enterprises actually develop mobile applications and connect to their existing databases through platforms we can provide them. And, then we will provide applications to them on a hosted and managed basis. We can go as far as the company needs the carrier to go in terms of managing the secure delivery of the applications as well.”

Sarkar-Basu: How can platform providers work with the carriers to provide enterprise mobility services to their customers?

Weldon: What’s interesting about the mobile operators is that they really are focused on their networks and that’s their core capability. So in order for them to provide these kinds of services, they often need the help of third-party providers. So they are going out into the ecosystem and they’re evaluating vendors in the telecom expense management space, the mobile device management space, the mobile application enablement space, and also the mobile security space. And they are sort of doing best-of-breed strategy where they are partnering with a number of different third parties because their customers may want different things. They may want different service delivery models; they may want software as a service; they may still want a behind-the-firewall platform; and they may or may not want the operator to do full management of their mobile deployments. So, it’s interesting what’s going on now where there are a lot of vendors for them to sort through, but certain ones are sort of coming up the stack in terms of the favorites of the largest mobile operators. And, I see Verivo in that space, as well as a company that can really help operators as they try to figure out what their role is on the mobile applications side.